Genesis 29:6
And he said to them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter comes with the sheep.
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Genesis 29:6. Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep — According to the custom of those times, when simplicity and industry were in fashion among persons of great quality, and of both sexes. They who find fault with the Scriptures, and question the truth of such accounts, discover great ignorance of the state of former ages.29:1-8 Jacob proceeded cheerfully in his journey, after the sweet communion he had with God at Beth-el. Providence brought him to the field where his uncle's flocks were to be watered. What is said of the care of the shepherds for their sheep, may remind us of the tender concern which our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, has for his flock the church; for he is the good Shepherd, that knows his sheep, and is known of them. The stone at the well's mouth was to secure it; water was scarce, it was not there for every one's use: but separate interests should not take us from helping one another. When all the shepherds came together with their flocks, then, like loving neighbours, they watered their flocks together. The law of kindness in the tongue has a commanding power, Pr 31:26. Jacob was civil to these strangers, and he found them civil to him.Jacob arrives at the well of Haran. "The land of the sons of the east." The points of the heavens were defined by the usage of practical life, and not by the standard of a science yet unknown. Hence, the east means any quarter toward the sunrising. Haran was about four degrees east of Beer-sheba, and five and a half degrees north. The distance was about four hundred and fifty miles, and therefore it would take Jacob fifteen days to perform the journey at thirty miles a day. If he reached Bethel the first night, he must have travelled about fifty miles the first day. After this he proceeds on his journey without any memorable incident. In the neighborhood of Haran he comes upon a well, by which lay three flocks. This is not the well near Haran where Abraham's servant met Rebekah. It is in the pasture grounds at some distance from the town. On its mouth was a large stone, indicating that water was precious, and that the well was the common property of the surrounding natives. The custom was to gather the flocks, roll away the stone, which was too great to be moved by a boy or a female, water the flocks, and replace the stone. Jacob, on making inquiry, learns that Haran is at hand, that Laban is well, and that Rachel is drawing nigh with her father's flocks. Laban is called by Jacob the son of Nahor, that is, his grandson, with the usual latitude of relative names in Scripture Genesis 28:13. "The day is great." A great part of it yet remains. It is not yet the time to shut up the cattle for the night; "water the sheep and go feed them." Jacob may have wished to meet with Rachel without presence of the shepherds. "We cannot." There was a rule or custom that the flocks must be all assembled before the stone was rolled away for the purpose of watering the cattle. This may have been required to insure a fair distribution of the water to all parties, and especially to those who were too weak to roll away the stone.4. Jacob said, My brethren—Finding from the shepherds who were reposing there with flocks and who all belonged to Haran, that his relatives in Haran were well and that one of the family was shortly expected, he enquired why they were idling the best part of the day there instead of watering their flocks and sending them back to pasture. According to the manner of those times, Exodus 2:16 Song of Solomon 1:7,8, when humility, innocency, simplicity, and industry were in fashion, both among men and women of great quality. There are some that quarrel with the Scripture, and question the truth of such relations, because they judge of the state of ancient times and things by the present age, whereby they discover great folly and deep ignorance of the state of former ages. And he said unto them, is he well?.... In good health, he and his family, or "is peace unto him" (b); does he enjoy prosperity and happiness? for this word was used in the eastern nations, and still is, for all kind of felicity:

and they said, he is well; or has peace; he and his family are in good health, enjoying all the comforts and blessings of life:

and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep; at that very instant she was coming out of the city with her father's flock of sheep, to water them at the well; an instance of great humility, diligence, and simplicity; this was very providential to Jacob.

(b) "nunquid pax ei", Montanus, Vatablus, Fagius, Cartwright, Schmidt.

And he said unto them, {d} Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

(d) Or, he is in peace? by which the Hebrews mean prosperity.

6. Rachel] The name means “Ewe,” a personal name, though, possibly, also tribal. In very early times, the designation of an animal seems often to have been transferred to a family or clan in connexion with the “totem,” or animal associated in worship with the spirit-god of the community.Verse 6. - And he said unto them, Is he well? Literally, is there peace to him? meaning not simply bodily health, but all manner of felicity; ὑγιαίνει (LXX.); sanusne est? (Vulgate). Cf. the Christian salutation, tax vobiscum And they said, He is well (literally, peace): and, behold, Rachel - "Ewe" (Gesenius) - his daughter cometh with the sheep. Lastly, Jacob made a vow: that if God would give him the promised protection on his journey, and bring him back in safety to his father's house, Jehovah should be his God (והיה in Genesis 28:21 commences the apodosis), the stone which he had set up should be a house of God, and Jehovah should receive a tenth of all that He gave to him. It is to be noticed here, that Elohim is used in the protasis instead of Jehovah, as constituting the essence of the vow: if Jehovah, who had appeared to him, proved Himself to be God by fulfilling His promise, then he would acknowledge and worship Him as his God, by making the stone thus set up into a house of God, i.e., a place of sacrifice, and by tithing all his possessions. With regard to the fulfilment of this vow, we learn from Genesis 35:7 that Jacob built an altar, and probably also dedicated the tenth to God, i.e., offered it to Jehovah; or, as some have supposed, applied it partly to the erection and preservation of the altar, and partly to burnt and thank-offerings combined with sacrificial meals, according to the analogy of Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (cf. Genesis 31:54; Genesis 46:1).
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